Submitting an Annual Fire Safety Statement

Written on the 2 February 2018 by Samantha Repice

What is required for submitting an Annual Fire Safety Statement can often be very confusing. Often contractors will capitalise on this confusion and suggest that unnecessary works be completed so that they can provide you with a copy of your annual fire safety statement.

Hopefully the below listed information provides a little more clarity on what an AFSS and what standards you are required to comply with.

  • Part of a development application is determining the fire safety measures and relevant standards of performance, which is the building code reference and applicable installation standards, including the relevant year of the last year of the last code and standard to be used as an assessment tool.
  • Once the construction is approved the fire safety schedule is produced and gives the developer, builder and contractors a clear set of guidelines as to the essential service measures required. The schedule will identify the measures (i.e. Fire Hose Reels) and standard of performance (BC E1.4 and AS 2441).

Sample:

Fire Safety Measure Standard of Performance
Emergency lighting BCA 2013, E4.2, E4.4 & AS/NZS2293-2005.
Exit signs BCA 2013, E4.5, E4.6, E4.8 & AS/NZS2293.1- 2005
Fire doors BCA Spec C3.4 & AS1905.1-2005
Fire hydrant systems BCA 2013, E1.3 & AS2419.1-2005


 

  • Once the building is completed the builder will gather a statement of compliance from each of the trades that has supplied and installed the list of essential services measures listed on the fire safety schedule and prepare a fire safety certificate for submission to the certifier (council or private) and fire brigade.
  • The Fire Safety Certificate must be lodged with council before the new use is commenced and/or the building is occupied.
  • Once the development has been completed and all the relevant documentation submitted to council proving the building meets the requirements and conditions of the development application and occupation certification is issued to the developer. This occupation certificate allows the building to be legally occupied by people and can now be used for the design purpose.
  • Once the initial fire safety certificate has been submitted to council and the construction approved for occupation this information is entered the councils AFSS data base and on the anniversary of its creation will be required for renewal. The fire safety certificate now becomes an annual fire safety statement and is sent to the building owner as listed on the council documents.
  • The annual fire Safety Statement (AFSS) should reflect the measure that was listed on the fire safety certificate at the approval of occupation. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? This means that your building needs to comply with the standards applicable for the date your building was built and not current standards. Check last year's annual fire safety statement 2 and ensure your contractors are complying with the code for the year the building was built and not any new codes. There is a difference between compliance and best practice.
  • The AFSS is required to be renewed every twelve months and must be displayed in a prominently location in the building for which it serves.
  • The only way in which we can determine if the measure is still functioning as designed is to inspect and test them in accordance with the relevant maintenance standards.
  • The EPA Act states that the owner of the building must engage a suitably qualified person to carry out inspection of the measures listed on the schedule. This could be a licensed tradesman like a plumber for hydraulic items, an electrician for electrical items or a specialised fire protection services company that can provide all services. Please note the inspections cannot be held any date earlier than 3 months from the date that the certificate is due.
  • The owner (of the building) or the owner's agent (Real estate, manager or strata manager) is to sign and date the AFSS, before submitting to the council and NSW Fire Brigade. If you are unsure if a contractor is proposing something that is not required, please do not be afraid to ask them to send you the section of the code or standard they are referring to. Then ensure that the section they sent you matches the date listed on the initial fire safety certificate or last year's annual fire safety statement. Once you receive the information cross check the dates. For example, if your certificate shows the below standard of performance needs to meet the standards from 2005 the fire company send you a requirement from 2014 it would not be applicable to your building and best practice not a requirement to carry out the works.

Samantha RepiceAuthor: Samantha Repice
About: Samantha Repice has over 13 years' industry experience in managing residential buildings, government sites, mixed use schemes, commercial buildings, industrial sites, Building Management Committees, Strata Management Committees and Community Associations. Calling upon her experience in facility management and industry insight across a broad range of sectors, Samantha Repice established her own company in order to provide flexible options for full-time and part time facilities management as well as cleaning services, to a portfolio of key clients.
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